Perfect is the enemy of good.
August 6, 2015 11:54 AM   Subscribe

I need a mantra that basically describes it being okay to suck/be imperfect/do a modestly okay job.

Something simple and repeatable and memorable but not as long and thinky as 'perfect is the enemy of good'.
posted by A Terrible Llama to Human Relations (60 answers total) 66 users marked this as a favorite
 
good enough
posted by bdc34 at 11:54 AM on August 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Begin again. And again.
posted by MonkeyToes at 11:56 AM on August 6, 2015


Just to clarify, if it helps, this is a 'pre-performance anxiety' type situation...
posted by A Terrible Llama at 11:57 AM on August 6, 2015


"Close enough for rock n' roll"?

In the corporate environment I work in, people are fond of invoking the "80/20 rule." Meaning: do 80% of the stuff you need to to well, and half-ass the rest.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:57 AM on August 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


Also, best (musical) performance advice I ever got: "Nobody will know what you didn't do."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:58 AM on August 6, 2015 [10 favorites]


If every pork chop was perfect, we wouldn't have hot dogs.
posted by Oktober at 11:59 AM on August 6, 2015 [30 favorites]


The mantra circulating around my last grad program was "it doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to be done."
posted by DingoMutt at 12:02 PM on August 6, 2015 [21 favorites]


Bs still earn degrees.

(as in the grades)
posted by kimberussell at 12:04 PM on August 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


"Don't get it right, just get it written." - James Thurber.
posted by holborne at 12:05 PM on August 6, 2015 [10 favorites]


Show up. If you said you were going to show up, show up.
posted by billjings at 12:08 PM on August 6, 2015


I like "Do your best and leave the rest" as well as "Progress not perfection" and "Grace over guilt"
posted by rainbowbrite at 12:08 PM on August 6, 2015 [7 favorites]




Also, in a PhD context, a common phrase we threw around was "The best dissertation is a done dissertation." Perhaps you could fill this in with whatever you're working on?
posted by rainbowbrite at 12:09 PM on August 6, 2015 [8 favorites]


Assuming you're not a medical professional: "No one will die."
posted by Etrigan at 12:10 PM on August 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


Your best is good enough.
(although it won't work if you get hung up on whether or not you are doing your best)
posted by metahawk at 12:13 PM on August 6, 2015


90% of success is just showing up.
Good enough is good enough.
posted by HotToddy at 12:14 PM on August 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Good enough is good enough.
posted by Mchelly at 12:15 PM on August 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Your title is, in fact, my own mantra.

Good > Perfection.
posted by Tomorrowful at 12:15 PM on August 6, 2015


C is for cookie, that's good enough for me.

("C" as in average grade.)
posted by unannihilated at 12:16 PM on August 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Nothing in this world is perfect. You're not going to change that.
posted by aubilenon at 12:21 PM on August 6, 2015


Something simple and repeatable and memorable but not as long and thinky as 'perfect is the enemy of good'.

Just to clarify, if it helps, this is a 'pre-performance anxiety' type situation...


Git r done.

Just do it.
posted by 23skidoo at 12:22 PM on August 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


More engineer-y but
  • Good, cheap, on time. Pick two.
  • Shipping is winning.
Also:
  • There's always a second edition.

posted by mce at 12:25 PM on August 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


Cs get degrees
posted by Sassyfras at 12:26 PM on August 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Julia Child is a great one for this sort of encouragement. One of her constant pieces of advice to home cooks was "never apologize".
posted by bonehead at 12:35 PM on August 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


I grew up in Ottawa; the local thing for this is good enough for government work!

(Apparently also used with close enough for.)
posted by kmennie at 12:51 PM on August 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


If it's for performance anxiety, Jack Nicklaus reportedly broke through the anxiety by thinking about his pinky toe.

I tried this while performing music and it worked for me
posted by circular at 12:55 PM on August 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Perfect is the enemy of the done.
posted by edbles at 12:55 PM on August 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Done is good.
posted by ferret branca at 12:56 PM on August 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Feck perfunction. Which is a thing James Victore says.
posted by grapesaresour at 1:20 PM on August 6, 2015


There's always Beckett: " Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."
posted by Pink Frost at 1:31 PM on August 6, 2015 [8 favorites]


I'm a big fan of "Just do it."

If you're like me, you end up with variations like "Just do it, already," or "Just do it, stupid."
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:32 PM on August 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


There's a crack in everything, that's how the light gets through.
posted by backwards guitar at 1:36 PM on August 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


All you can do is all you can do.
posted by 4ster at 1:59 PM on August 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


If something is worth doing, it's worth doing badly.
posted by kitcat at 2:01 PM on August 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


FPDI
Fuck
Perfection
Do
It
posted by lysdexic at 2:16 PM on August 6, 2015


Not quite what you need but I always liked "Practice makes better". (from my HS math & calculus teacher Ms. Nathan)
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 2:31 PM on August 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


D is for Diploma
posted by Daily Alice at 2:32 PM on August 6, 2015


What do you call the person who graduates last in their medical school class?

"Doctor"
posted by wps98 at 3:07 PM on August 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


You have a dog, right? "My dog says it's fine."
posted by feral_goldfish at 3:15 PM on August 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


The Cult of Done Manifesto.
posted by sk8ingdom at 3:23 PM on August 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


In theater, we used to say, it's just gotta look good from about 30 feet.

Also, "Hats are not pants"
posted by Medieval Maven at 3:32 PM on August 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


"A life spent making mistakes is more honorable - and more useful - than a life spent doing nothing." - George Bernard Shaw

I stuck this one up on my Facebook after I found it in the liner notes of the Manic Street Preachers' Journal for Plague Lovers and it's still there 6 years later because I want to remember it every day.
posted by capricorn at 3:41 PM on August 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


Ah damn, you said not long and thinky. Sorry. I hope it will still be meaningful.
posted by capricorn at 3:42 PM on August 6, 2015


"If something's not worth doing, it's not worth doing well."
posted by Rumple at 3:45 PM on August 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


I use the variation "done is better than perfect."
posted by trixie119 at 4:14 PM on August 6, 2015


If exercise related, "better than sitting on the couch" or just "better than the couch."
posted by mouse noises at 4:58 PM on August 6, 2015


Dare greatly.
posted by monkeys with typewriters at 6:12 PM on August 6, 2015


Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.
posted by bile and syntax at 6:32 PM on August 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


From The Small, Happy Life in the NYT:

The man, Young wrote, “was proud and excited to show the journalist the gift he had been bequeathed. A banged up tin pot he kept carefully wrapped in cloth as though it was fragile. The journalist was confused, what made this dingy old pot so valuable? ‘The message,’ the friend replied. The message was ‘we do not all have to shine.’ This story resonated deeply. In that moment I was able to relieve myself of the need to do something important, from which I would reap praise and be rewarded with fulfillment. My vision cleared.”
posted by wheek wheek wheek at 8:12 PM on August 6, 2015


Good enough for these people.
posted by RogueTech at 10:07 PM on August 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Related?
posted by fullerine at 1:29 AM on August 7, 2015


It's not just good, it's good enough!
posted by agent99 at 8:40 AM on August 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Competence is a myth.

Or to quote from Calvin & Hobbes:

"Miss Wormwood, I protest this 'C' grade! That's saying I only did an 'average' job! I got 75% of the answers correct, and in today's society, doing something 75% right is outstanding! If industry and government were 75% competent, we'd be ecstatic!"

Or another line from my industry days: I can do it right, safe, or fast, and you can only pick two of those.
posted by Strudel at 10:47 AM on August 7, 2015


Thanks you guys. You're all awesome.

Medieval Maven, if you happen to check back in, perhaps you could expand on what the hell "Hats are not pants" means. I'm not sure I actually care what it means, because it sounds so great, but I would love to hear the thinking behind that. If you stop back by, please lay it on us.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 6:41 PM on August 7, 2015


"hats are not pants" is probably more literal than it might appear - but in our shop it was like, no one gets hats til everyone has pants. A way of ordering things by importance, that I've kind of repurposed into the rest of my life. Some stuff is pants. Other stuff is hats. Take care of pants first.
posted by Medieval Maven at 8:04 PM on August 7, 2015 [23 favorites]


Personally, I use "Not everything worth doing is worth doing well". When I was a college senior, I regularly told myself "D is for Diploma."
posted by rmd1023 at 4:39 PM on August 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


"It'd be a quiet forest if only the best birds sang"
posted by storybored at 7:18 PM on August 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


Launch.... and iterate (later)
posted by thaths at 4:53 PM on August 10, 2015


"Get your SELF out of the way." I was training to teach meditation and when pre-performance anxiety first arose (and it still does arise), I told my teacher about it. He said (kindly), "It's the practice. Get your self out of the way." It really helps me!
posted by seaward at 2:22 PM on August 12, 2015


Nothing real is ever ideal. (And vice-versa.)
posted by rpfields at 4:03 PM on August 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


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